There are many ways to define bad. A modest dictionary would define bad as: “of poor quality or a low standard.” Other words you could use to define bad would be ‘terrible’, ‘inadequate’, ‘horrible’ and more. But is it possible that something so universally regarded as the worst movie of all time could actually be truly great and historically significant? James Franco aims to answer this question with his surprisingly outstanding film The Disaster Artist.

The film is an adaptation of the book “The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room. The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made” by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. The bestselling memoir was a first hand account of the making of The Room, the film that is most widely regarded as the worst movie ever made.

The Room was released in 2003 and was written, produced, and directed by one of the most mysterious, larger than life humans on this planet Tommy Wiseau. He also played the main role in the film as well. The Room was Wiseau’s brainchild and passion project. Six million dollars later and after perhaps the worst production experience ever chronicled, this film was completed and ready for its first audience.

Over the past decade The Room has developed one of the largest indie cult followings with screenings weekly all over the country and each showing becoming an interactive experience for everyone in the crowd.

But how did this all come to be? In The Disaster Artist James Franco tells the story of how this iconic mess became such a triumph.

Franco gives the performance of his life as Tommy Wiseau. Wiseau is a complete enigma, with an unidentifiable Eastern Europe accent and a rather short temper. Franco brings him to life and puts a character on screen that is as entertaining as anything ever written.

During the premiere of the film which they still consider a work in progress, Seth Rogen, one of the producers and stars of the film, told the crowd Franco was in character the entire time on set. Whether he was directing, in a scene or just walking around Franco was always being Tommy Wiseau. This wasn’t surprising to find out after seeing his performance and witnessing his complete transformation.

The Disaster Artist

The supporting cast is stunning and numerous. Dave Franco is great as Greg Sestero, Wiseau’s best friend and co-author of the memoir the film is based on. Rogen is hilarious and Josh Hutcherson steals nearly every scene he is in. The supporting cast includes Zac Efron, Alison Brie, Bryan Cranston, Ari Graynor and many many more.

South by Southwest was the absolute perfect place to premiere this film. The theater packed with 1200 people was rolling with laughter and applause for the entire 100 minute running time. In a theater that has screened comedy mega hit premieres like “Bridesmaids,” “Neighbors,” “21 Jump Street” and “Trainwreck” this was the loudest, most energy packed and most responsive crowd I have ever experienced. To no one’s surprise Franco and his cast were met with a standing ovation as the final frame rolled.

There are so many things that Franco nails with The Disaster Artist. One would never believe this story if it wasn’t true and Franco handles the absurdity perfectly, but never goes too far into ridiculousness. What makes this film work on every level is the heart of it. The foundation of this story is the bond between two friends and their dream they want nothing more than to achieve. At the end of the day, after much much trial and tribulation we get to see these two amazing friends achieve their dream, it’s just a lot different than they ever expected.

If there is true justice in the world James Franco’s name will pop up come Oscar time. Is the film itself worthy of Oscar buzz too? I never thought I would say this but yes. Franco was given an unbelievable story, with incredible access and made something brilliant. Something so bad has never resulted in something so great.

  • Jo Hutchinson

    great review